Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Century Caballero- Buick's Sexy Hardtop Hauler

Ever since the first Buick production station wagons of 1940, Buick wagons were invariably referred to as "Estate Wagons." But there's a facet of Buick history in the late 1950's when the catalog offered a Buick wagon with a very exciting name- the Century Caballero. 

Now to be perfectly clear, we're talking about the Century Caballero Estate Wagon, model 69, which was introduced for 1957 flaunting its brand new looks and Buick Riviera four door hardtop styling. The focal point was a sweep spear which served as a color break for the optional two tone paint, an option which the vast majority of purchasers preferred. Several two tone combinations were popular, including the Bitterweet and Antique Ivory, Garnet Red and Dover White, and Dresden Blue with Dover White. The Century Caballero was Buick's top of the line wagon offering for 1957- the Roadmaster and Super Estate Wagons were discontinued when Buick transitioned to the all steel wagon bodies in 1954.

But solid color or two tone, the Caballero was a looker. It's interesting to note that the Caballero Estate Wagon was the only Century wagon for 1957, and was offered in both six and nine passenger versions. The lower priced Special series had both a pillared Special Estate Wagon (Model 49) and a Special Riviera Estate Wagon (Model 49-D) which had the hardtop styling but lacked the 300 HP Century engine and the luxurious interior of the Caballero.  

Not surprisingly, the handsome new Caballero was a success- despite it's healthy $3706 base price, the Caballero was Buick's best selling wagon model for 1957 with 10,196 units produced. The lower priced  Special Riviera Estate Wagon ($3167) sold 6,816 units and the base Special Estate Wagon ($3047) accounted for 7,014 orders.

All of the Buicks were extensively facelifted for 1958 and the Caballero was no exception. We'll visit the 1958 edition another time. But for today, enjoy Buick's dashing hardtop hauler- the 1957 Century Caballero:    

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